Toyota Avanza 1.5L Test Drive Advantage – Drive Safe and Fast


Published on January 5th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Toyota Avanza 1.5L Test Drive Advantage

When the first Toyota Avanza model arrived it took the compact MPV segment by storm and also managed to convert many compact car buyers to buy one. It was a true runaway success for UMW Toyota and a product that stood the test of time and abuse in various forms. The competition was scarce and it came from Nissan in the form of the Livina. Honda did not have a rival and Perodua had discontinued their Rusa. So, the Avanza reigned supreme for a few years and sales were steady without much marketing effort.

Now comes a brand new 2nd generation Avanza with even more competition in the segment. Nissan has a 2nd generation Livina and Perodua has their Alza.


This new Avanza still carries a compact body that encloses a surprisingly roomy space. It is 4190mm long, 1660 wide and stands 1695 tall. This space can convert from carrying seven passengers in three rows of seats, to transporting long or tall objects. With three rows of seats in place, the Avanza accommodates three passengers in its second row, and two in the third row, with a small upright cargo space of 162 liters still available behind the third row. Fold the third row and cargo space expands, much larger than any compact sedan’s trunk. With all seats folded, the volume is a sizeable, enough to transport bulky items such as a washing machine and furniture.
There are two available powerplants for the Avanza like before, a 1.3-liter engine with 97bhp and 121Nm, and a 1.5-liter dual VVT-i engine with 105hp and 136Nm. There is a manual 5-speed or you can pick the 4-speed automatic mated to a 1.5L we are test driving here, Gears are well-spaced for reasonable acceleration, with an extra-tall fourth gear for efficiency.
Outside, the Avanza features a rather similar profile as the 1st generation model, but the changes a quite a number with the all new grille and halogen headlamps the biggest new feature. A high belt line adds to the impression of greater size, particularly in the lighter exterior colors.
The interior is functional and welcoming, with soft fabric seats, and a slightly revised dashboard layout. There are multiple cubbyholes and cupholders in the cockpit alone, 4 of them for just the driver and front passenger, not even counting the glovebox. The steering wheel has the same look and thick rim as found in the older Avanza, without the remote audio controls. It tilts but does not telescope. Dual airconditioning is standard, with individual vents on the roof header for both second and third-row seats. This does a great job in keeping passengers cool on a hot humid afternoon in the city.
This Avanza has a handy USB port and aux input beside the gear-lever. Audio quality is pleasant; the system is capable of Bluetooth music streaming.
As the Avanza is positioned as a family vehicle, safety features such as dual airbags and ABS brakes are available. The rear seat gets three-point seatbelts, with the middle second-row passenger getting a lap belt.
We slipped into the shoes of the average Avanza buyer to look at what made this a best seller. The person that looks at this MPV is not a speed demon, a show-off, a flamboyant dresser or a night owl. The Avanza buyer is a practical motorists that wants space, good fuel consumption, easy city driving and super reliability. The Avanza buyer wants decent resale value after 7 years and 7 years or easy motoring. We are not the Avanza buyer……but we totally understand its place and practicality.


This Avanza’s revised underpinnings results in decent handling and a comfortable ride considering its delivery. On both smooth highways and potholed roads, this Avanza proved to be composed and pleasant. The body structure felt solid, with well-suppressed road and wind noise. After a 200-kilometer drive around Klang Valley, this Avanza delivered both driver and passenger still fresh and able and we must say that the shoes we wore made sense after a few days.


Toyota Avanza 2nd Generation Specifications

Engine: 2 NR-VE 4-cylinder, in-line, 16-valve, Dual VVT-i

Displacement: 1,496cc

Transmission: 4-speed automatic/five-speed manual

Max power: 105hp at 6,000hp

Max torque: 136Nm at 4,200rpm

Top Speed: NA

0-100km/h: NA

Price: From RM69,072.00 to RM80,810.00

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